Power in Numbers: Advocacy, Organizations and Activism
March 3, 2021, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM - Hosted by the PVCC One Book Club
In this session, Michael Cheuk from Cville Clergy Collective, Virginia Organizing’s Brian Johns, Jared Calfee from Virginia21, and Don Gathers from PHAR will share how their respective organizations build consensus within their communities as well as advocate for and affect change. Discussions will focus on each organization’s efforts to mobilize and organize.
Michael Cheuk is one of the founding members and current Secretary of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, an interfaith group of leaders committed to establishing, developing, and promoting racial unity within the faith leadership of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Region. Led by Dr. Alvin Edwards, Pastor of Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, the Clergy Collective consists of over thirty members representing over seven faith traditions and ten Christian denominations. The Collective have organized public responses to the “summer of hate” in 2017, as well as community conversations on racial justice, interfaith worship and prayer services, and a pastoral presence on election day in 2020 that spanned all the voting precincts in Charlottesville and Albemarle county.
Michael has been in ministry for over twenty years, having served as a campus minister, and a senior and interim minister to churches in Texas and Virginia. He is currently a leadership coach and congregational consultant.
Jared Calfee manages all of the day-to-day operations of Virginia21 including program development, fundraising, communications, policy research, and administration. Prior to joining Virginia21, Jared spent a year and a half at VPAP. He has worked on a number of political and issue campaigns, as a legislative aide in the General Assembly, and done non-profit and communications consulting.
Jared is passionate about civic engagement and the importance of higher education. He earned a degree in Government from the College of William and Mary and is an avid sports fan and political junkie. He lives in Henrico with his wife, Alicia, his daughters, Walker and Kessler, and their dog, Delaney.
Don Gathers, a native of Richmond VA and youngest of six (6) sons, relocated to Charlottesville VA in 2013 following his marriage. Assisting others has been in his blood for quite some time. Activism began for Don when he served as a Union Leader of Communication Workers of America and United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) in Richmond VA. Soon after moving to Charlottesville, he wasted no time becoming involved in his community. Don is involved in many local organizations.
Brian Johns currently serves as the executive director of Virginia Organizing. He first came to Virginia Organizing as an intern in 2000 and then worked as a community organizer from 2001-2005. He spent two years in Pennsylvania doing community organizing with a labor union and returned to Virginia Organizing in 2007 as the Southwest organizer. From 2010-2017, Brian also served as our organizing director — supervising organizers, strategizing statewide and national campaigns, and staffing statewide strategy committees.
Brian grew up just south of Richmond in the Petersburg area. He is now based out of Charlottesville, where he lives with his wife Paige and their daughters Lea and Susanna.